Travel Guide: New Zealand

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New Zealand is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses—the North Island and the South Island —and more than 700 smaller islands, covering a total area of 268,021 square kilometres. New Zealand is considered a very safe country to live. In fact, it is often voted one of the safest countries in the world. It has low crime rates and offers good security for its inhabitants and visitors alike. A small island nation home to around 4.5 million people located in the Pacific Ocean, New Zealand is famous for its national rugby team, its indigenous Maori culture and its picturesque landscape.

Milford Sound / Piopiotahi– is a fiord in the south west of New Zealand\’s South Island within Fiordland National Park, Piopiotahi Marine Reserve, and the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage site. It has been judged the world\’s top travel destination in an international survey and is acclaimed as New Zealand\’s most famous tourist destination. Rudyard Kipling had previously called it the eighth Wonder of the World. The fiord is most commonly accessed via road by tour coach, with the road terminating at a small village also called Milford Sound. 



Aoraki / Mount Cook– is the highest mountain in New Zealand. Its height, as of 2014, is listed as 3,724 metres. It lies in the Southern Alps / Kā Tiritiri o te Moana, the mountain range which runs the length of the South Island. A popular tourist destination, it is also a favourite challenge for mountain climbers. Aoraki / Mount Cook consists of three summits: from south to north, the Low Peak, the Middle Peak and the High Peak. The summits lie slightly south and east of the main divide of the Southern Alps / Kā Tiritiri o te Moana, with the Tasman Glacier to the east and the Hooker Glacier to the southwest. 

Abel Tasman National Park– is a New Zealand national park located between Golden Bay and Tasman Bay / Te Tai-o-Aorere at the north end of the South Island. It is named after Abel Tasman, who in 1642 became the first European explorer to sight New Zealand and who anchored nearby in Golden Bay. 


The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa– is New Zealand\’s national museum, located in Wellington. Known as Te Papa, or \’Our Place\’, it opened in 1998 after the merging of the National Museum and the National Art Gallery. The 17th-most-visited art gallery in the world, an average of more than 1.5 million people visit every year. Te Papa Tongarewa translates literally to \’Container of Treasures\’. A fuller interpretation is ‘our container of treasured things and people that spring from mother earth here in New Zealand’. Te Papa\’s philosophy emphasises the living face behind its cultural treasures, many of which retain deep ancestral links to the indigenous Māori people. The Museum recognises the partnership that was created by the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, te Tiriti o Waitangi, in 1840. WELT is the Index Herbariorum code for Te Papa. 

Franz Josef Glacier– is a 12 km long temperate maritime glacier in Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the West Coast of New Zealand\’s South Island. Together with the Fox Glacier 20 km to the south, and a third glacier, it descends from the Southern Alps to less than 300 metres above sea level. The area surrounding the two glaciers is part of Te Wahipounamu, a World Heritage Site park. The river emerging from the glacier terminal of Franz Josef is known as the Waiho River. 


The Waitomo Glowworm Caves– attraction is a cave at Waitomo on the North Island of New Zealand. It is known for its population of Arachnocampa luminosa, a glowworm species found exclusively in New Zealand. This cave is part of the waitomo streamway system that includes the Ruakuri Cave, Lucky Strike, and Tumutumu Cave. The attraction has a modern visitor centre at the entrance, largely designed in wood. There are organized tours that include a boat ride under the glowworms. 

Te Whanganui-A-Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve–  is in the southern part of Mercury Bay on the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand. On the coast of the mainland it runs from Cook Bluff in the north-west to the northern end of Hahei Beach in the south-east. Its offshore extremes run from Motukorure Island through Waikaranga Island to Okorotere Island and the northern end of Mahurangi Island. It covers an area of 840 hectares. Part of the marine reserve lies off the Cathedral Cove Recreation Reserve, which runs from the northern end of Hahei Beach in the south-east to beyond Cathedral Cove in the north-west. With attractions such as a natural rock archway and neighbouring beaches at Cathedral Cove, the area is very popular with tourists, and receives around 150,000 visitors per year. The Māori name for Mercury Bay, Te Whanganui-A-Hei, refers to Hei, a tohunga from the Te Arawa waka. According to tradition, Hei chose the area around Mercury Bay as home for his tribe, proclaiming ownership by calling Motueka Island \”Te Kuraetanga-o-taku-Ihu\”. It is said he made this claim near the present-day town of Hahei. 


The Tongariro Alpine Crossing– in Tongariro National Park is a tramping track in New Zealand, and is among the most popular day hikes in the country. The Tongariro National Park is a World Heritage site which has the distinction of dual status, as it has been acknowledged for both its natural and cultural significance. The crossing passes over the volcanic terrain of the multi-cratered active volcano Mount Tongariro, passing the eastern base of Mount Ngauruhoe. The full distance of the track is usually 19.4-kilometre. 

The Sky Tower– is a telecommunications and observation tower in Auckland, New Zealand. Located at the corner of Victoria and Federal Streets within the city\’s CBD, it is 328 metres tall, as measured from ground level to the top of the mast, making it the tallest freestanding structure in the Southern Hemisphere and the 27th tallest tower in the world. It has become an iconic landmark in Auckland\’s skyline due to its height and design. The tower is part of the SkyCity Auckland casino complex, originally built in 1994–1997 for Harrah\’s Entertainment. Several upper levels are accessible to the public, attracting an average of 1,150 visitors per day. 

To discover more about New Zealand and plan your trip click here.

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Stacey M.
(Travel & Tourism Specialist)

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